AUBURN - The words "summer camp" probably conjures imagines of hiking, fishing, tents and s'mores, but a new camp for kids is focused more on hardwiring electronics and designing products on a 3D printer.
The Summer Manufacturing Institute kicked off on Monday, and the five-day camp gives students a taste of what a career in manufacturing might be like.
"It's just so cool," said sixth-grader Evan Lindic. "I've already built a speaker and had tons of fun with it, seen a laser cutter cut plastic into little name tags, and a UV printer write my name on those little plastic tags!"
Auburn Career Center has partnered with Senator Sherrod Brown's office, Ohio Means Jobs Geauga, and the Alliance for Toward Working Together Foundation to create this summer camp that allows kids to design, wire and build their own portable boombox speakers, electro-magnets, and simple motors.
"You get to do a lot," said sixth-grader Mitchell Lindsey. "You get to learn, so yeah, I would tell people to come!"
The camp is designed for fifth and sixth graders, trying to catch kids before they've already been pigeon-holed into a career track in high school.
"We want to make sure they have an opportunity and some exposure to something like manufacturing," said Alice Cable, executive director of Alliance for Working Together Foundation, a member organization of about 80-90 manufacturers aimed at promoting careers in manufacturing and production. "We also want it to be something that's fun for them."
For some kids, there is no question about which summer camp they'd rather attend.
"I just like building," said sixth-grader Conner Glasier. "I want to be an architectural engineer.'
He may be onto something.
According to the Center for Manufacturing Research, Ohio's manufacturing output continues to rise, and students who choose vocational training may have a better chance of finding a well-paying job after graduation.
"We have fewer people that are trained, more and more open positions, so we need to make sure that we're filling the skills gap," said Cable.
Next week, Auburn Career Center will host an all-girls version of the Summer Manufacturing Institute called "It's Our Time," where the girls will manufacture LED clocks.
For information on the Summer Manufacturing Institute or to sign a fifth or sixth grader girl up for next weeks camp, click here.
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